Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Binary Clock

So I got this really awesome clock from my boyfriend during winter break. It gives the time (hours, minutes, and seconds) in binary. I put it up in my classroom during first hour yesterady. It's been driving my students absolutely crazy for the past two days (my whole goal with it). :D

They keep asking me what it is. All I've been saying is that it's a clock and that it tells me the hours, minutes, and seconds. I also tell them the time by reading the clock (never deal with the seconds, though).

The kids then ask me, beg me, attempt to bribe me, into explaining how to read it. I refuse. I let them know that it's up to them to figure it out and that the clock will be up for the rest of the year. If they don't figure it out by the end of the year, I MIGHT be nice and tell them. Probably not, though. :P

During 5/6 block today, one of my students asked me about the clock. I gave her the same explanation as always. Five minutes later, she exclaimed, "Ms. Grivna! I think I got it!!" I had her come over to me and tell me the time and then explain how to read each part. She didn't know that the pattern had a special name, but she totally had it figured out. I explained to her about binary and asked that she let others discover the pattern for themselves. She's not the kind of person to blab the fun secrets to others, though. She likes to watch people squirm while she sits back with all the info. hidden away. :)

I wonder how many more kids will be persistent enough to figure out my fun new toy of a clock. :)


Doctor Binary said...

Is it the Powers of 2 BCD clock, the one with the blue LEDs? I have one too. It has two modes: BCD mode and binary mode. The default is BCD mode, which is probably the mode your students were reading.

I wrote an article about it at http://www.exploringbinary.com/how-to-read-a-binary-clock/ in case you (or your students) are interested.

Rick Regan

Meg Schlukebier said...

Yup, that's the one. I've got it in BCD mode. I'm thinking about switching it to binary mode after spring break just to annoy the kids some more. ;)

Thanks for the article link! Nice explanation. I'll have to remember to share it with my students towards the end of the year after they have the chance to try reading the clock in both modes.

Doctor Binary said...

I keep mine in binary mode these days to give me more practice in reading my binary watch (bet you don't have one of those!).